Burglary charges expose you to severe penalties with enhanced incarceration times and increased fines. These charges are serious. A trained Greenwood Village burglary lawyer could help you craft an effective defense to preserve your freedom and future. Reach out to the Colorado Lawyer team to get started on your defense.
Burglary Does Not Always Involve Theft
A person commits burglary when they knowingly access, enter, or remain on another’s property illegally and intend to engage in unlawful activity on the property. Despite popular impressions, gaining access to the property does not need to entail “breaking in,” merely walking onto a premise suffices. The intended unlawful conduct often involves stealing another’s property, but this is not the only way to satisfy the elements of burglary. Almost any crime may qualify. For example, kidnapping, battery, or sexual assault will support burglary charges.
A burglary conviction is unlikely if the suspect had permission to be on the property or did not plan to commit a crime when they entered. Here is an example: a cleaning service employee knows their client possesses valuable jewelry and plans to slip a ring into their pocket while working. In this instance, they may have committed theft but not burglary because although they planned to take the ring, the owners invited them into the home. A seasoned Greenwood Village burglary attorney could review the evidence and build a defense against the charges.
Burglary is Always a Felony
Colorado classifies burglary as a felony, never a misdemeanor. Colorado Revised Statutes §§ 18-4-202, 18-4-203, and 18-4-204 outline what constitutes a first, second, and third-degree offense. The degree charged corresponds to the case’s circumstances, turning on the type of property entered, personal peril to third parties, and if the intended illegal activity focused on controlled substances.
Penalties for Each Felony Classification
Third-degree felony burglary involves unlawfully accessing locked containers or areas for illegal gain. Examples of such spaces include vending machines, gym lockers, display cases, cash registers, and safety deposit boxes. The law generally categorizes this activity as a class 5 felony (F5) but elevates it to a class 4 felony (F4) if controlled substances are stolen. Under these classifications, C.R.S. §§ 18-1.3-401 sentences those convicted of F5 burglary to 1 to 3 years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000, and those convicted of F4 burglary to 2 to 6 years in prison and fines of $2,000 to $500,000. Mandatory parole is 2 years for F5 burglary and 3 years for F4 burglary.
A person perpetrates a second-degree burglary if they unlawfully enter a structure intending to engage in criminal activity. If the structure is a building but not a dwelling, the suspect faces F4 charges. If it satisfies the definition of a dwelling or involves the theft of controlled substances or firearms, then class 3 felony (F3) penalties apply. A dwelling does not have to be a traditional residence. Anywhere a person considers home is classified as a dwelling, such as a hotel room or an attached garage. In second-degree cases, the accused faces 4 to 12 years incarcerated, with mandatory parole of 3 years. Fines may range from $3,000 to $750,000.
The most stringent penalties apply when the unlawful entry leads to assault or threats against a third party or if the suspect possesses deadly weapons or explosives. These facts will likely lead to first-degree felony charges and penalties as a class 2 felony (F2) or F3. The accused may also face penalties for a “crime of violence.” Suspects confronted with these allegations may find themselves confined in prison for 4 to 48 years and paying fines up to $1,000,000. F2 crimes of violence carry mandatory imprisonment terms of 16 years, while the F3 crimes of violence mandatory imprisonment is 10 years.
These life-altering punishments align with the facts of each case and the alleged offender’s state of mind. An attorney’s experience and tenacity may guide those accused through this challenging time to an acceptable resolution.
Rely on a Greenwood Village Burglary Attorney to Defend You
Facing criminal charges is scary, especially when the punishment involves long prison terms and fines. We are here for you to ease your fears and help you effectively challenge the prosecution’s case. Reach out to our experienced Greenwood Village burglary lawyers, and let us start working for you today.